Do I Need a Detox?

Before deciding whether you need to detox, it is important to understand the difference between a detox and cleanse. Many times these are used interchangeably, but are actually slightly different.

 What is a Detox?

A detox is referring specifically to the liver and kidneys. The job of these organs is to remove harmful toxins and chemicals from your body.  This is a natural process that is occurring all the time, but in some instances the body is inefficient in carrying it out and needs assistance. You are not technically “cleaning the liver or kidneys” but rather assisting them in the job they already are equipped to do.  The reasons the body may be inefficient in doing it naturally are numerous; but include, increased exposure to toxins through the environment, cleaning and personal care products, pollution, foods and even medications. Your body even produces toxins through normal functions needed to fuel itself. Think of it kind of like exhaust that is emitted. In a perfectly functioning body, this is all working in balance.

 What is a Cleanse?

A cleanse is referring to the digestive tract, colon or the gut.  In this process you are removing undigested food, toxin and even parasites.  In this process there is also the element of repairing or improving the digestive processes once the toxins are removed.

How to Decide Between the Two?

Besides knowing that you are aiming to assist the liver & kidneys with a detox, and the digestive tract with a cleanse, there are some signs that you may need one or the other.

Signs You Will Want to Detox Signs You Will Want to Cleanse
Acne Chronic Pain
Weight Gain or difficulty losing Weight Headaches
Gout Foggy Brain
Foul Breath Lethargy, Decreased Energy, Fatigue
Swelling, Edema, Puffiness Allergies
Candida/Yeast (sweet cravings, itchy, mood swings) Sinus congestion
Prolonged use of medications Skin rash, eczema
Gas, bloating, irregular bowel movements
Food intolerances


What to Expect When You Do a Detox?

 When you set out on a detox program, you have to be prepared for some “Withdrawal” symptoms. These are only expected to last for the first 3 to 7 days, depending on how toxic your lifestyle and body are at the time of the detox.  These can be scary, and cause you to quit if you are not armed with this knowledge of what to expect.

  • Bad breath
  • Constipation
  • Achy, flu-like feeling
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Hunger
  • Irritability
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea
  • Offensive body odor
  • Sleep difficulties (too much or too little)

Crazy, but the things that are the most toxic for you are also the things that can be the hardest to eliminate. They are also the things you really want (caffeine, sugar, alcohol, favorite foods). Whether doing a detox or cleanse these can be difficult to let go of, but so worth it.  Removing things slowly over a period of time can reduce the severity of these withdrawal symptoms.

A Little Science

The liver works in a 2 phase process. Both need to be working efficiently. This can be complex to understand; but, here is a simple version for you.

“You can think of:

  • Phase 1 as being responsible for breaking things downinto smaller raw materials. These are then shunted to….
  • Phase 2, which builds new substances from the raw materials, by adding molecules to them (this process is called conjugation).

Simply put:

  • phase 1 breaks down &
  • phase 2 adds-on

We thus need to continually supply the special conjugation substances required in phase 2 via our diet or internal metabolism, or the production process lines come to a halt……..Even still, despite this block in the phase 2 production line , the phase 1 production process does not let up, and it just keeps on going and going, making more toxic compounds and causing a bottle-neck, and leading to issues such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).”

The key is to slow down Phase 1 detoxification, while also speeding up Phase 2, and you can do this by following some of the dietary guidelines below :

Substances that positively affect Phase 1 Detoxification:

  • Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Oranges/tangerines
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Vitamin B, C
  • Limonene (found in essential oils of lemon, orange and celery)
  • Rosemary

 Substances that positively affect Phase 2 Detoxification:

  • Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Soy and Whey (found in a natural protein powder)
  • 40 grams of protein daily
  • Legumes
  • Oatmeal
  • Limonene (high in many essential oils)
  • Milk Thistle
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Kidney beans and black beans
  • Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Magnesium
  • Probiotics
  • Green Tea
  • Whole Grains
  • Omega 3 Supplement

How to Detox?

Given the daily toxic exposures that most of us encounter and the fact that moderation doesn’t work for most people, ongoing and focused detoxification is imperative.

Start by limiting your exposure to toxins:

  • Drinking from a glass or stainless steel container,
  • Avoid plastics whenever possible.
  • Use organic or natural products on your skin and cleaning products
  • Avoid GMO food.
  • Reduce physical and emotional stressors
  • Then add in periodic detoxificationso that your liver is able to keep up with the demand.
  • Add a cleanse so that the digestive tract is working optimally


To know if a detox is right for you and what detox to do, consult a naturopath or holistic practitioner. Unfortunately, many traditional medical professionals are not versed in this area, so may not be able to guide you. In some circumstances, they may even deter you from taking this important step to good health.

For my DoTerra peeps, we have a great 30 day Program that is both a detox and a cleanse. Once you finish the program continue supplementing the body on an ongoing basis.  When your body shows signs of increased toxicity, add the liver detox supplement again.

Be aware of the amount of exposure to toxins you have, that will determine how often you will need to assist your body.  Always pay attention to the signs your body is giving you by way of symptoms. The more natural choices you make for your lifestyle, the more you control your emotional stress, the more you eat healthy, the healthier & happier you will find yourself.

Resources is a detox?

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